Changing Your Child’s Responses

From a stubborn toddler, to a sarcastic teenager – dealing with a difficult
child starts with you.

Life Coach and Author Connie Sokol shares ways to change your child’s

When frustrated by a difficult child, changing their response could be easier
than you think.

1. Learn your child’s love language. Author Gary Chapman says the
five main ways we show or receive love are quality time, words of affirmation,
gifts, acts of service, or physical touch. The key is finding out your particular
child’s need and then filling it, not with what you want but what they need.

2. Write a Love List about your child. Whether you struggle with
them or not, write a list of only their positive traits, even if it’s “Did not kick
the dog today”. When I spoke at Education Week two moms talked with me:
one said a positive was when she actually knew where her son was at night;
the other said when she hugged her son and he didn’t smell like marijuana.
Every Love List will be different. If needed go back to journal entries, or even
to birthing them! Do it and add to it often, this works to help you focus on
the positive and cultivate it in that child.

3. Help them find their niche. Children can be difficult often
because they feel lost in the family or life and don’t know where they fit.
Sometimes they try to be just like a sibling, at other times completely
opposite. So help them find one thing they’re good at. The confidence and
success they feel will domino effect into other areas of their lives which they
can build on in the future. (Think Napoleon Dynamite in the last scene with
his big dance number—suddenly people are cheering for him, suddenly he
found a niche). Michael Landon, beloved actor and director of Little House on
the Prairie series, struggled in his youth with an abusive home life and low
self- esteem. In high school, he was a chronic bedwetter, had facial tics, and
made involuntary gulping sounds. But then in gym class he threw a javelin
for the first time and threw it 30 feet farther than anyone else. He said, “On
that day, I had found something I could do better than other people.
Something I could grab on to. And I grabbed.” So we can help our children
experiment with different abilities then nurture the ones they love or see
success with, and give them something to hold onto. As they gain
confidence, they become more peaceful and happy within themselves.

This week change the way you interact with your child, and you might
pleasantly surprised to positively amazed at the change in him or her, and
your relationship.

Connie Sokol is a mother of six—expecting her seventh—and a presenter,
former TV and radio host, and author of several books, including Faithful, Fit
& Fabulous. For tips, columns, and books, visit

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